The Future of Sustainability in the Hotel Industry
Sustainability in Hotels; How can both your hotel and the planet achieve a mutually beneficial coexistence?
Going green – what is it all about?
When it comes to any industry, ‘sustainability’ and ‘green’ are buzzwords which are thrown around a lot, and within the hotel industry it’s no different. In recent years sustainability has been a major opportunity for business growth, for example, Tripadvisor’s ‘GreenLeaders Programme’ showcases eco-friendly hotels, and AirBnb has an entire section dedicated to green properties. These are just two of many ways where committing to sustainable practices can get your hotel noticed.
However, as much as ‘going green’ is a key marketing opportunity for hoteliers, it is also an inevitable reality that we all must face – there is a reason why there exists this demand. With the worsening climate crisis, achieving a more mutually beneficial existence with the planet is something which every industry, business, and even family home, must adopt. The hotel industry cannot be an exception – hotels are spaces with highly concentrated people traffic, and such spaces can easily have huge carbon footprints, so it is crucial that hotels are leading the way in a global, sustainable future.
So how can your hotel go green? Below we have brought together fantastic ideas to start your hotel’s journey to becoming green!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Something which every hotel can incorporate into its green programmes is recycling bins – if you don’t have recycling bins around your hotel, introduce them! Put them in easy-to-spot areas (such as next to lifts) and signpost them with big recycling symbols! Make sure they are also available in offices and kitchens!
Reduce plastic usage by adding a water-bottle refill station in the lobby! You could even create a hotel loyalty programme, partner with a reusable water bottle brand, and provide members with branded, reusable bottles. You could also encourage minimising water usage by providing towel racks in bathrooms, with a sign encouraging guests to reuse towels, and installing push-button showers in the pool area.
Consider implementing key-less entry via smartphone apps to cut out plastic key cards and bring about remote check-in/ check-out to reduce paper waste. These options also help to minimise overstaffing and its associated carbon emissions.
Encourage greener travel to, and around, your hotel
Re-think your rides and valet services to promote and accommodate more electric vehicles – providing more electric vehicle charging stations encourages greener transport and avoids losing customers who require vehicle charging. You could even encourage greener transport by giving owners of electric cars discounts on valet services!
If you have shuttle buses that transport customers around the hotel complex, make them electric! You could also promote the use of local eBike and eScooter rental options – a rapidly growing and popular industry – for customers venturing out to explore the local areas.
Using smart technology in sustainability initiatives is probably the best way to become a greener hotel. This could take the form of smart thermostats to reduce energy consumption or smart showers to conserve water usage. Many of these features can be adjusted through apps which can be a fun, attractive feature for customers.
More options include solar-powered windows – practical and funky – lights attached to motion sensors in hallways and solar sensors to dim lights at appropriate times. The possibilities for automated features around the hotel are endless in our technology-driven world!
Going green doesn’t have to be ugly!
There are a number of simple ways through which you can redesign your hotel to make it more energy efficient, and the first thing to think about is materials!
Consider using green materials in the design of guest rooms such as sustainably sourced bamboo floors, natural fibre sheets, sustainable furniture and reusable coffee mugs. In terms of toiletries and complimentary beauty products, consider providing natural, free-trade toiletries from green-certified manufacturers.
A fantastic option is having plants on the hotel grounds to minimise energy usage. Planting trees and sun-loving plants in the west-facing parts of the hotel will eventually provide shaded areas to keep the hotel cool. It’s also important to use plants that are drought-resistant and local to cut down on water and pesticide use.
The number one rule here is to source locally! Using local ingredients is a great way to become a more sustainable hotel as it cuts down your hotel’s ‘food miles’ and ensures that you have fresher food, for longer. It’s also a fantastic marketing opportunity as having food tailored to the local area, especially for international hotels, is a major selling point.
Another way to create an eco-friendly restaurant is by offering more plant-based options. Plant-based diets contribute considerably less to greenhouse gas production, and having these options also make your hotel vegan-friendly, giving your hotel a wider client-reach.
Minimising food waste is also another important aspect of having an eco-friendly restaurant. When food is thrown out, its decomposition process produces methane gas, which is twenty five times more harmful than carbon dioxide – on top of this it is also bad for your hotel’s profit margins. So, a great option is installing smart bins in the kitchen to monitor food waste. If your food waste still cannot be avoided, you can work with homeless charities and provide meals to the homeless population in your area with unused food.
Know what works for your hotel
Going green cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach, so knowing what works for your hotel is crucial. One way is through ‘big data’. Being able to produce data which is specific to your hotel can help you in understanding how to maximise your hotel’s sustainability.
The easiest way to gather big data is through the use of sensors around your hotel. Monitoring aspects such as energy and water usage and food waste can help your hotel hone in on the areas that need to be focused on with respect to sustainability. Monitoring foot traffic can help you decide where to put recycling bins within the hotels and monitoring where sunlight hits the hotel can help with knowing where to start with energy-saving solar technologies.
Finally, when you’ve implemented the initiatives mentioned in this blog, tell your customers! Include your hotel’s green-features on the hotel website and on guest room leaflets and leave a long-lasting good impression on your customer! You could even start a blog on your hotel’s journey to becoming green!
The Bottom Line
As we move into the future, hoteliers must adapt to new environmental needs and technological advancements, as guest-demand for more sustainable experiences grows and the climate crisis worsens. With the CoVID-19 pandemic firmly embedding hygiene protocols and contactless experiences into the industry, there is no reason why sustainable practices cannot also become part of the ‘new normal’.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Hamlet Hotels’ priorities in moving forward in our hotels’ developments, which we build both nationally and internationally. We recognise the need for this development in the face of the climate crisis and plan to harness positive, green change to promote the growth of our hotels.
To find out how we can work with you, get in touch with our team.